Is it possible that a major fashion brand is actually embracing the function of wired clothing? The NYTimes says Ralph Lauren is branding OMSignal’s instrumented compression shirts at the US Open, the tennis tournament that opens today in New York City. The shirts aren’t going on the players, who are probably quite well instrumented during their training already. Rather, the shirts will be worn by the ball boys — “several” of them, according to a Ralph Lauren press release — the boys and girls who stand deathly still and scamper after errant tennis balls and hand fresh ones to players when necessary.
Also, the company said, Marcos Giron, the nation’s top collegiate singles player who is playing in his first Grand Slam, will wear the Polo Tech during practices. That’s who’s in the picture.
This is more of a high-profile demonstration than anything truly useful — who really needs to monitor stress on ball boys? — but there’s genuine value in a demo like this. Especially when it’s accompanied by sentiments like this:
It’s a mandate that Team Lauren plans to address, integrating technology into everyday wear. In the first half of next year it will introduce, alongside the athletic shirts, tech-enhanced classic dress shirts at Ralph Lauren stores. The shirts, which have yet to be priced, will represent a portion of a projected multibillion-dollar business that will include tech products as well as new collections of contemporary streetwear.